Today, we are talking about the cat — not the cat that wakes you up early with the pitter-patter of little paws, but the cat that can change everything in the translation process. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) or computer-assisted human translation (CAHT) tools are software designed to support translators in their work and speed up the entire process while removing manual tasks. This article overviews the best cat software, their types, abilities, and use cases. Learn below why CAT tools are the required puzzle of successful localization and translation processes and how to implement them best.

CAT tools in the industry. The main pros

Firstly, to highlight the importance of CAT tools in the localization and translation process, let's look at the CAT tool's figures and how their usage improves the process. Based on the survey , 88% of translators use at least one CAT tool, and 76% use more than one. The most popular industries of expertise are:

  1. Tech/Engineering - 34%
  2. Business/Financial - 15%
  3. Marketing - 12%

Such popularity is provoked by the fact that CAT tools have a list of advantages: speeding up the translation process;

  • ensuring the consistency of the content;
  • keeping the quality at a high level;
  • reducing manual tasks;
  • improving productivity;
  • and based on all the points above, they save time and money for customers, which also affects the increasing popularity of CAT in the industry.

But how is all of the above achieved? You will understand this better after you understand the types of CAT tools and their use cases.

What are CAT tools? Types overview

The types of CAT tools are variable, ranging from desktop applications to SaaS (Software as a Service) and hybrid platforms. Each of these solutions has pros and cons, catering to the support of the unique needs of businesses. The Lingohub team overviewed each option's strengths and weaknesses for a comprehensive analysis.

Desktop CAT tools

As the name shows, this software is installed directly on the users' computers and works locally and offline.


  • Offline access to the data guarantees access to content even if the internet connection is lost;
  • Data security as all information is stored locally;
  • Higher performance because the users can't be affected by the external servers or connection speed.


  • Poor collaboration. Users have fewer options to work together in real time, which triggers the usage of additional communication tools and approaches.
  • Harder team scaling. Desktop CAT tools often imply using individual licenses and additional fees per each. Thus, the business should buy extra licenses for new team members.
  • Maintenance. The final app performance depends on the user's computer capacity. Translators should also handle updates, backups, and other maintenance tasks.
  • Human mistakes. The data on users' computers can be stolen or destroyed by malware or system errors.

SaaS CAT tools

The cloud-based software available via browser or application interface.


  • High accessibility. Your team can use any device with personal credentials, allowing more flexibility for when and where to work.
  • Real-time collaboration. With the SaaS CAT tool, team members can complete the project tasks simultaneously.
  • Flexible scalability. Often, SaaS solutions provide flexible pricing plans that can be easily switched. For instance, the Lingohub Team plan allows adding up to 20 users, while the Business Plan does not limit seats.
  • Accounts management. Companies that use freelance translators' services and often change performers can create a "guest" account and share the credentials with new members. This is much more comfortable than asking new employees to install new software on their devices and take care of licensing.
  • Support and automatic updates. With SaaS, users receive all the app updates automatically, often with instructions on using this or that new feature.


  • Dependence on the Internet connection. The performers can work only with a stable connection.
  • Data security. Some industries/companies with sensitive data can't store it somewhere outside their perimeter. If your company has no such individual restrictions, you don't need to worry about data safety with Lingohub, as our security policy ensures your data is safe.

Hybrid CAT tools

A hybrid approach combines the previous two options when some features, such as text translation, can be available offline. It has pros and cons, the same as the approaches above, and individual peculiarities.


  • Availability. Hybrid CAT tools allow translators to do the work offline and synchronize the result after finding the connection.
  • Data control. If some data should be stored locally, users can translate it into the desktop software and share it manually.


  • Synchronization issues. Localization managers should pay more attention to task synchronization when some team members work offline to avoid translating the same texts.

So, when we discussed the main types of CAT translation tools, let's review what software we can precisely attribute to this group.

Best CAT tools for translation work in 2024

Translation Memory (TM) is a feature that stores all the translations made for reuse in the future.

  • TM purpose - speed increasing. This tool aims to improve efficiency by reusing previously translated content. Using TM, the translators don't spend time on the same content, and the localization manager wouldn't recheck the same text twice.
how to create translation memory

Style Guide is a set of standards that describe the audience, preferred tone of voice, grammatical person, etc.

  • Style Guide purpose - consistency keeping. Having a prepared guideline, translators can work on the content and maintain a unified tone of voice and brand identity.
style guide

Quality Checking features - are the tools that can monitor and identify errors automatically without human effort.

  • Quality Checks purpose - keeping quality and reducing human efforts. Automated monitoring allows us to avoid issues such as double spacing, missing elements, etc.
quality checks

Translation History - a base that tracks all the changes through each text segment in the project(s.)

  • Translation History purpose - tracking text evolution and fast restoring. Translation History allows a quick return to the previous versions in case of issues.
translation history

Term base (glossary) - the database that contains all the preferred projects' terms with their translations (if needed) in different languages.

  • Term base purpose - keeping consistency. No matter who will work on your project - in-house or freelance translators - they will use the same naming for all essential terms.
create a term base

Based on all the above, we can say that CAT tools are focused on assisting translators with translation tasks, and during this goal, they increase the speed and quality of the process. It looks impressive, doesn't it? But when looking for the best option for the business, remember that CAT tools are targeted only at translators' work and don't cover translation and localization management tasks. If you need a system to help control the entire process, we suggest paying attention to the TMS (translation management system).

CAT tools vs TMS. What's the difference?

The distinction between these terms sometimes needs to be clarified. For instance, users can see that both solutions have a term base or style guide abilities and wrongly think they are more or less the same. But these are two different products with two distinct purposes.

As previously mentioned, computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools aid and support translators in their work. In turn, the TMS targets the management of translation projects, workflow, and automation, and TMS can contain, synchronize, and improve all of the CAT tool's abilities.

For example, the Lingohub translation management system provides all the CAT tools mentioned in the previous paragraph and adds additional value by extending their functionality:

  • Translation Memory can be paired with the prefill feature, meaning all the repeated text segments can be filled out automatically in seconds.
  • Style Guide, in addition to the translators' support, affects the machine translation results. Hence, you will see the difference in the pre-translated text if you choose the formal or informal tone of voice, various connotations, etc.
  • Quality Checks by Lingohub warning about wrong terminology usage in addition to the more common placeholders, spaces, and lengths checking.
  • Translation History is provided not only for translators but also for managers in a separate united report to see what was done for a specific period.
  • Term base (glossary) - automatically provides suggestions during editing and terms context (description and image.)

As you can see, all CAT tools inside Lingohub are closely related to each other and can provide valuable data for localization managers. Besides already described functions, Lingohub TMS allows:

  • manage projects' progress with progress bars that show text segments' statuses;
  • discuss the project-related questions in the interface;
  • generate cost reports;
  • integrate all popular repositories and applications to build continuous localization;
  • use AI machine translation results;
  • order translations and proofreading;
  • and many more.

TMS or CAT? Consider what best suits your organization's needs. We advise avoiding splitting these systems and opting for an all-in-one solution. Our team hopes this article has helped you gain more information about the translation software market, particularly CAT tools. If you need more details about our CAT features and TMS abilities, contact the Lingohub team by scheduling a fast demo call, and we will gladly provide it. Stay awesome!

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